Pontus vs Gustard?


I'm looking to upgrade my Benchmark 1, and am very interested in the Gustard X26 Pro.  My only concern is the dearth of reviews (one, excellent performance and value) and Agon posts (one member, yyzsantabarbara, has it in his excellent system and loves it).  Before looking at the Gustard, I was interested in the Pontus, which is similar in price and has many high marks from users on this forum.  Has anyone here had a chance to compare them, side by side after burn-in?
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Hi Manoj, no I haven't pulled the trigger yet.  I am concerned that you've had so much trouble using the Gustard direct to amp.  I do have a preamp (Parasound 2100), but I consider it to be the weak link in my system, and have only been using it for sporadic vinyl listening.  I don't know what would make a DAC perform poorly without a preamp (any thoughts from Agon'ers on why a DAC would have trouble driving an amp  would be appreciated), but if that is true, it would make the Gustard about $4000 more expensive, and way out of my budget. 
I would not get the Gustard X26 Pro if you need to drive it Direct to amp. It has some bug that causes it to generate louder hiss after many hours. Going into a preamp does not have this issue.

Going direct to amp is using more circuity than into a preamp. The digital volume control for one thing. I believe that when you set the volume to MAX the digital volume circuit is by-passed. For me, this is not a problem because I really dislike direct to amp in all the DACs I have used.
That’s a shame – it sounds like a great DAC. I’m still considering it, but if I have to use it with my existing preamp, It may not sound as good as it should.
The challenge with these types of DACs is that the output stage may not be beefy enough or have the ability to push enough current to drive the input impedance of amplifiers.  That is where a separate preamp can come it.  Obviously, this doesn't affect all DACs with volume controls, but there are several amps which can be difficult to drive from a DAC.

Of course, the described problem with Gustard X26 hissing may be something completely different.
The challenge with these types of DACs is that the output stage may not be beefy enough or have the ability to push enough current to drive the input impedance of amplifiers. That is where a separate preamp can come it.

@auxinput  Thanks for your input -- I'm surprised the Gustard wouldn't have enough current in its output stage to drive an amp, since they seem to have paid a lot of attention to their electronics, but that could be the case.  I noticed that you also weighed in on a much older post about LKS, Okto DAC8 Stereo and others (https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/has-anyone-auditioned-an-lks-mh-da004-dac?sort_order=asc )  ; do you have any thoughts on how the Gustard DAC might compare with them?